Monday, April 02, 2018

Edward Said: Humanism, at least

Peace will never come, writes journalist Hussain Abdul-Hussain in 2010, as he rushes to an answer:
"For peace to strike root, every state in the Middle East should become blind to the ethnicity and faith of its citizens. When people start having equal rights, they will forget their need to gang up in tribes that require defined territory to defend for their livelihood.
 In Israel, a state-run agency owns all the land. In Lebanon, the Maronite Christian church recently created a fund to buy any land Christians might want to sell in order to prevent Muslim encroachment.
 These Jewish and Christian trust funds, their fight to survive as minorities in a predominantly Muslim Middle East, and the dominant bloody ethno-religious politics will always prevent the different groups from mixing and melting into states where citizens enjoy equal rights.
 Absent modern secular states, like in the US or Europe, peace will never come. Like roses that cannot grow among thorns, modern states in the Middle East cannot coexist next to Islamic theocracies, whether they call themselves “republics” or “kingdoms.” It is either all modern states, or none.
 In the Middle East, peace will come only comprehensively, and unfortunately we’re not even on the right track yet."
I feel desperate to answer too.  But it may take time, and take listening, reading - Edward Said and Orhan Pamuk and dance and pop - to see the right things.

Here is another article, one without answers, from 2003.  I am still reading it and I recommend it completely.  By the way, the author Rest In Peace, his name bothers me - I always want to put the dots above the 'i' as it is Saïd, Sa'id, not English say, saying, said.   
"Western scholars helped justify the war in Iraq, says Edward Said, with their orientalist ideas about the 'Arab mind'.  Twenty-five years after the publication of his post-colonial classic, the author of Orientalism argues that humanist understanding is now more urgently required than ever before." 
- in Guardian UK Books / Myth and Misinterpretation of 'the Orient' / A Window on the World / adapted from the introduction to a new edition of Orientalism

The other day I went "under the sea" for the first time in my life - you know, underwater aquarium - that experience.

Just before going under, another tourist (from a different group) had a drone.  I hadn't seen one outside of like engineering lab projects or the silly ones filming and stuff at Lagos outdoor parties or on TV.  I did really hate my 10 seconds of seeing (or being seen by) this drone.  Very strongly in my stomach hated this thing, would have drowned it.

There was a very young, cheerful, and handsome couple (from my own group) that I talked to also, in English and dots of Arabic.  Then we went in and saw the fish and stuff swimming and doing their undersea village life or whatever and talked about peace and (on the other hand) the hell and predation that we don't see.

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1 comment:

t said...

NY Times archives on Edward Said here stuff written about him esp criticism, and his own essays too.